Monday, April 8, 2013
Week ahead: Rays, Mariners
By Todd Wills
The Rangers must put a weekend with Josh Hamilton and the Los Angeles Angels behind them and quickly get prepared for a three-game series against the the Tampa Rays (3-3). Then it's off to the Great Northwest for a four-game series against Seattle (3-4).
The Rangers and Rays are two of the top-five winningest franchises in baseball since the start of the 2008 season. Tampa has the third best record in the Majors at 461-355, which puts them behind only the Yankees (481-335) and the Philadelphia Phillies (467-349). Next comes the Angels (454-362) followed by the Rangers (449-367). The Rangers beat the Rays in the American League Division Series in 2010 and 2011 on the way to their two World Series appearances.
The Rangers will miss Rays ace David Price, who started Sunday against Cleveland. They get right-handers Jeremy Hellickson (0-0, 7.11) and Roberto Hernandez (0-1, 5.40) and left-hander Matt Moore (1-0, 0.00).
The Rangers and Rays are playing outstanding defense to start the season. Tampa has opened the season without making an error in six games, the longest streak to start a season in club history. The Rangers have made two errors in six games, one by Gold Glove third baseman Adrian Beltre.
The Rangers and Mariners will play seven times in 10 days when they open their four-game series at Seattle at Safeco Field. The Rangers were 4-5 last season in Seattle.
The Rangers miss Price, but they won't miss Seattle ace Felix Hernandez (1-1, 2.57), who will start Thursday's series opener against struggling Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison (0-2, 8.44).